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4 Duke
Seth Davis
November 24, 2003
A precocious new arrival will have the perimeter-minded Blue Devils looking inward
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November 24, 2003

4 Duke

A precocious new arrival will have the perimeter-minded Blue Devils looking inward

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POS.

PLAYER

HT.

CL.

KEY STAT

SF

Daniel Ewing#

6'3"

Jr.

40.0 3FG%

PF

Luol Deng

6'8"

Fr.

23.0 ppg*

C

Shelden Williaims#

6'9"

Soph.

. 5.9 rpg

SG

J.J. Redick#

6'4"

Soph.

. 15.0 ppg

PG

Chris Duhon#

6'1"

Sr.

6.4 apg

#RETURNING STARTER

*High school

Luol Deng responded to the teaching of Mike Krzyzewski almost from the moment he met the Duke coach. "When we shook hands, he said it should be a firm handshake," says Deng, recalling the advice he got during Krzyzewski's official recruiting visit. After establishing himself last season as the nation's second-best high school player (after LeBron James), Deng is eager to learn more and improve upon his multitudinous talents. Krzyzewski has already described the 6'8", 220-pound Deng as having a combination of Shane Barrier's character, Grant Hill's versatility and Steve Wojciechowski's tenacity. "Luol can be our go-to player," Krzyzewski says. "When he will become that is the question. We have to remember he is just 18."

Then again, Deng's life experience is not that of a typical 18-year-old. When Luol was four, his family had to flee to Egypt to escape the bloody civil war that has raged for years in Sudan, the Dengs' native country. Luol and his eight siblings shared a three-room apartment in Alexandria with their mother, Martha. Three years later the family moved to London, and Luol was sent to a New Jersey boarding school, Blair Academy, in 1999. "I was really homesick when I first got there, but I had to learn to take care of myself," Deng says. "With everything I've seen in my past, I think I matured a little earlier."

Deng, who has the wing-span of a 7-footer, should help give the Blue Devils what they sorely lacked last season: solid low-post scoring. His presence alongside 6'10", 245-pound sophomore reserve Shavlik Randolph, who has beefed up by 15 pounds following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip, will enable the team's sharpshooters to get better looks. But the Blue Devils must get better production from senior point guard Chris Duhon, who shot only 27.3% from three-point range.

Deng is careful not to proclaim himself the key to Duke's chances—"We're all doing it together," he says—but his teammates are eager for him to assert himself. "Luol is trying to fit in right now, but we don't want him to fit in," Duhon says. "We want him to be him."

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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